Monday, June 04, 2007

Que Imperial March

From Alter:
But what does that aim have to do with permanent bases? The only two reasons to station troops in the Middle East for half a century are protecting oil supplies (reflecting a pessimistic view of energy independence) outside the normal channels of trade and diplomacy, and projecting raw military power. These are the imperial aims of an empire.
This has got to stop.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Where We Are Now, or a Giant Wall of Text Crits You for 4373845 Damage!

I'm planning a strategic redeployment from everything I've ever wanted for myself.

I've been on a path toward political office off and on since high school. If you asked me if I planned to run for office, my answer had been "yes" as late as this past Sunday. But at the beginning of this week, I found myself unable to keep forcing my convictions to stay inside the boundary lines of my personal ambitions.

I have felt a sense of expectation around me from my friends, family and community my whole life. The words "to whom much is given, much is expected" have rattled around my head in various forms since third grade. I cannot remember ever having been free of a sense of responsibility to live up to...something...tied to the gifts God gave me. Everyone looks up to the President when they are kids (how can they not...we drill that into kids pretty early, complete with a loyalty pledge led by the nice elementary school teacher lady at the tender age of five, when we have no idea what we're actually saying), and that image stuck. Achieving the heights of political office became the Holy Grail of Meeting Expectations, and I have fought and scraped to position, to learn, to ascend inside the ranks of professional staffdom during my short career so far with the idea that I was Getting Ready.

Getting ready for what, though?

Every week in this job, almost without fail, I send out at least one pitch email to reporters criticizing President Bush's Iraq policy and his pursuit of the War on Terror (TM). But the following line that flies from my fingers so easily is the one that has stuck in my mind like a knife, like an accusing finger. It always contains some variation of "a better, smarter strategy to fight terrorists."

As you might have guessed if you have read any of my posts (chances are not large that you have...I'm not Kos), I am an adherent of Christian nonviolence. I believe that violence has been proscribed in every instance by the teachings of Jesus Christ. But that conviction runs right into, every week, a calculus that I email out to reporters, to everyone that reads anything these reporters write based on my pitches, that in effect argues not for turning away from violence, but for different, "smarter," more effective violence.

This is being a little simplistic about the messages I send, but you get the basic idea.

I can't do it. I can't become this person. I look down the road of political campaigning and office, and I see looking back at me an absolute villain. I see a person who thinks he's doing what's best for the people, fighting for a mythical Greater Good with the lives of other people's kids, moving them around like Risk pieces. And make no mistake, no one who will stand up and tell people that serving in the military is immoral, that killing even for self-defense is against the teachings of Jesus, will ever muster the votes to win any federal, state, or possibly even local office in any arena I could hope to run in. The offices that are open are too small for my ambition, and the ones that would satisfy my drive are closed to me as long as I act out my beliefs.

So I have a choice. I can either make piece with losing my integrity, my convictions, and my soul, or I can walk away from my entire vision of myself and my future.

Goodbye future. Hello uncertainty.

I plan to finish out this job while L. finishes grad school, and then I'm out. I have no idea what's next. But it certainly doesn't involve being a happy cog in the machinery of murder.

Back Online

Coming back online after a long hiatus. Stay tuned.

Right now I'm reading Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf. I highly recommend. I'll blog more about it later.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Nice One, Pat

Wow. I'm used to lambasting Pat Robertson, but today he said something that restored a little bit of my faith in humanity: he declared himself a global warming convert and called for alternative energy. Watch this.

Nice one, Pat. Glad to have you with us. Now go tell all your friends.

O'Reilly: "Fight the Machines"

Bill, we're glad to have you with us fighting the Cylon takeover:
Now if a president wants the folks to support him, he must be a teacher, a persuader. He must sell his policies to a public that's often confused. In other words, our leaders must fight the machines.
Yes! That's what we've been saying! These damn machines can even look like people now and--
That is a daunting task, but it is Leadership 101 in the Internet age.
Oh wait, you were referring to bloggers?

Damn. We're bloggers.

Wait....are you a Cylon?

Bill's latest screed on his "Talking Points" segment is hilarious. Gee, those darn bloggers are the reason we're losing in Iraq and the reason we're all turning against this charlie foxtrot (look it up people). If we would all just stop confusing people with this stupid reality-based text, they would just do whatever the GOP wants!

God! I HATE this stupid printing press. Now all these people are getting these BOOKS and I can't just TELL them what to THINK anymore.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Get Your Palpatine On

WashPost reports today of a move by the Administration to drastically increase the use and scope of military courts in the wake of the Supreme Court's rejection of the military trial system as it exists today:
The plan...would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction.

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

The military lawyers nonetheless supported extending the jurisdiction of the commissions to cover those accused of joining or associating with terrorist groups engaged in anti-U.S. hostilities, and of committing or aiding hostile acts by such groups, whether or not they are part of al-Qaeda...
AMERICAblog points out that if you take the words used by this Administration about reporters who are critical of the war effort, they fit exactly with the words of the new proposal as people who would be eligible for trial under these expanded Commie-characature courts.

Congress has got to change hands in 2006. It has to. It is the only way to put the brakes on this Administration. The Republic is dying folks, unless we do something about it.

One more time for the slow ones: We are losing the Republic.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Stalling to Push a Wider War

President Bush is stalling.

President Bush insisted anew Monday that any Mideast cease-fire be conditioned on a wider agreement and said he would look to the United Nations to act to establish “a long-lasting peace, one that is sustainable.”
There is an old saying: "the enemy of better is best." The President's immediate goal should be an immediate cease-fire, not the perfect cease-fire. As the bombing of the housing project in Qana and the subsequent civilian deaths show, modern wars are more deadly to civilians than to the militaries and governments that provoke and fight them. Every day that a war continues means more and more civilian casualties. The fighting must stop immediately, and then long-term deals hammered out.

But I don't think the President is totally blind to all of this. Rather, I think he's using this situation to leverage (or try to) support for a broader offensive against Syria and Iran:
As Israel cut short a halt in bombing and launched new strikes in southern Lebanon, Bush spelled out a series of what he called “clear objectives” to accompany a halt in the fighting.

“Iran must end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hezbollah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon,” Bush said in a speech at the Port of Miami.
Either he's laying groundwork for an Israel-led attack on Iran and Syria, or he's trying to pull the United States into a war to "defend an ally."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bush and Hadley: The War in Iraq is No Longer the War on Terror

The President and his NatSec Advisor admit that the War in Iraq is about suppressing religious / sectarian violence, not fighting al-Qaeda or other terror groups. In other words, as I've said all along, the War in Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Quote for Today's Debate on the House Floor

From the West Wing:
President Bartlet: "I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police?

Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side?

Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

Think about those questions, would you?

Oh, one last thing.

While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits."